In 2021, Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia agreed to give intense focus to Rwanda as their next church-planting target nation. Mathias is one of the first two men to be ordained and sent out by KBC to start churches in the capital city of Kigali.

Testimony of Salvation

It was in 2009, my first year of university, that the Lord called me. There was a missionary who started a Bible study at my university, meeting with students regularly. One day a friend of mine invited me to that Bible study where the missionary was preaching from Mark 8:36 ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’ These words raised a lot of questions in my mind. I was wondering ‘Can one lose his soul? I’m studying with so many ambitions. What if I study, get all the money and honors, and then lose my soul?’ 

I continued to attend the Bible Union Fellowship (GBU- Groupe Biblique Univeristaire), asking for more explanation on how one can lose his soul. They advised me to ‘make a decision’ and ‘repeat the prayer’ of a brother who was trying to lead me to Christ. But after all that, I could still feel the weight of sin on me. I still did not know what I can do so that I may not lose my soul. From that time onward, I tried to keep myself from sinning, but I had no peace. I could see myself losing my soul because of my sinful ways. For the first time, I started to read the Bible, hoping to find more answers.

I really wanted to stop sinning but could not. When we went for holidays, as I continued seeking God in the Scriptures, I felt a deep conviction of my sins like never before. I cried to God for forgiveness as I was reading the conversion of the prison-keeper in Acts 16. In verse 31, he asked Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved. I knew this was my question too, and they answered him: ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’

It was at that time that I saw the light and the burden of my soul was rolled away. From that day, I felt peace, joy, and assurance that I had never experienced before. I knew that my sins were forgiven and I am a new creature. I knew Christ paid for my sins and I needed to trust Him, which I did! My love to Christ started to grow, and attending more Bible studies and prayer meetings were now my most precious moments. I started to participate in door-to-door evangelism, preaching the gospel in the hostels of my fellow students, and desiring to use all the opportunities I had to preach the gospel to everybody. A year later I was baptized by immersion while there at campus. 

Call to Ministry

A year after my conversion, in 2010, I was baptized and devoted myself to be a good member of the Christian student union. It was not a church, but a para-church ministry. We had GBU’s (Groupe Biblique Univeristaire) vision, that after university, we will be agents of godly transformation in church and society. I did all the discipleship classes, conferences, and trainings available in GBU. We had to stay on campus for 4 years, but I was praying that God may lead me into a biblical church after my graduation. 

Since GBU was like our local church at campus, I had no local church outside the campus. This was and still is the case with many GBU Christian students after graduation. While in GBU at campus, after doing a Kairos Course (a course that mobilizes the church for mission), I pledged to spend the first year of my life outside campus on the mission field, preaching the gospel to an unreached people group somewhere before devoting myself to pursue my engineering career. 

At the end of 2013, I graduated from Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering and came back to Kigali. I only worked for 5 months at MTN as an engineer and left the job because I wanted to go for missions. I wanted to spend the year preaching the gospel to an unreached people group in Uganda, as I had pledged in my heart while in school.

At that time, I was attending just any church near my house. When I told the pastor that I was going for mission, he asked for an offering, prayed for me, and I went! I did not know anything about false teachers and false churches. I thought all organizations that call themselves ‘Christian’ were true. By God’s providence, while I was in Uganda, an old white man and his wife came to preach in northern Uganda and they found me there. They asked me which church had sent me and I said ‘none’! They decided to stay there and send me back to Rwanda, after warning me about false prophets and teachers and the prosperity gospel. It was my first time to hear about that. They even told me that I cannot transform a deceived religious system, but that I should look for a biblical church where I will be taught. These words were not clear to me at that time. 

After returning to Rwanda, I was offered a job training people in computer skills. When I arrived to my new place of work, I discovered it was a charismatic church. The pastor had employed me to train people in the nationwide branches of his ‘church’ and I  was paid very well. I willingly and joyfully started conducting Bible studies with my students after computer lessons. I wanted them to know the gospel and this was my opportunity to preach to them. One day the pastor found me leading a Bible study and decided to give me other responsibilities in the church, even though he did not know me. After a while, I found myself among the main leaders of the church! In April 2014, I was registered in their Bible college (Redeemed Bible College) where I graduated with an advanced diploma in Pastoral Theology and Missions in October 2016. 

One year before my bible college graduation, in 2015, I was ordained as a youth pastor at that church (The Redeemed Christian Church of God). It was even horrible how I became a pastor – a visiting Ghanaian so-called ‘prophet,’ a friend of our senior pastor at the time, came to preach at our church. He claimed that God showed him that he should anoint me to become a youth pastor. I personally did not want that, but they threatened me that, if I refuse, I may face God’s curse! In my heart, I knew it was not true, but I did not have words and boldness to clearly refuse that.

I had been reading the prepared and revised sermons of Charles Spurgeon of 1888 since 2009. In my early days of conversion, this book was given to me as a gift at my baptism and has helped me a lot. From the first day, I was disturbed by the teachings and practices of that church. I had many disagreements with my professors at the Redeemed Christian Bible College. The knowledge I gained from the collection of sermons at Metropolitan Tabernacle pulpit, along with the Bible passages therein, helped me deal with many heresies. I was able to discern how some teachers are twisting Scriptures, especially when it comes to the charismatic sign gifts, church leadership, and apostolic authority. 

Eventually I started pleading with the pastor to abandon man-centered teaching and practices, and follow what Scripture teaches, but the pastor refused. I was thinking that maybe the pastor twisted the Bible because of ignorance, and that I must be an agent of godly transformation in church and society. I later realized this was not possible, because even the senior pastor was doing this because of his plan to gain glory and money. 

In December of 2016, one week after my wedding, I was given a task to preach in a Sunday worship service. I preached from Hebrews 2:1-2, how God is no longer speaking to his people through modern day prophets, but that He has spoken to us through his Son. I gave an example of how any power that causes people to shout and fall down, to speak gibberish, to dance uncontrollably, and carry them into trances and not true conversions, does not come from God. The senior pastor did not want me to finish the sermon. He stood up, accused me of preaching heresies, and excommunicated me before the whole church. I was told that I am no longer allowed to come back! 

After that, I was frustrated and did not want anything related to church. I thought that I will be praying and studying the Bible with my wife, working to care for my family, and that is all. After two weeks, in January 2017, some friends, neighbors, and classmates started coming in my home for Bible studies. I was telling them how we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, and these things were new to most of them. We started a series of Bible studies on the book of Romans, and they used to attend their charismatic and Pentecostal churches every Sunday morning and come to my house for Bible study in the evening. 

I thought that this would continue like that, but in March, two families refused to attend their former church where there was no gospel. They asked me to direct them where they can find a biblical church and I honestly had no answer. They decided that they would come for Bible studies even during Sunday morning. I wanted to only tell them the truth, I was joyfully and peacefully happy to share the gospel of grace with them, but I did not think about what would happen if they kept coming! The following Sunday, 3 families came and that is how our Bible study fellowship started. It was by God’s providence. 

I started going to the internet looking for biblically sound preachers. One day I came across a certain ‘Spurgeon of Africa’ and that disturbed my mind. I had learnt about Charles H. Spurgeon from my early years of conversion, and I had fallen in love with him as I read his books and sermons. When I saw this ‘Spurgeon of Africa’ on the internet, I thought, ‘This must be one of these many heretics in Africa comparing themselves with Spurgeon. Let me first listen to what this heretic has to say.’ After listening to one of Pastor Conrad Mbewe’s sermons, I was edified and started following him, and recommended him to many brethren in our fellowship. Later, by following Pastor Mbewe, I landed on Paul Washer, John MacArthur, etc… 

At last, I finally wrote to Pastor Mbewe through Mr. Kumwenda (who was KBC mission coordinator at that time) seeking help about our fellowship. He encouraged me to keep preaching the gospel and promised to send my message to Pastor Mbewe. After that, I talked to Pastor Conrad on the phone and he greatly encouraged me, promising to pray for Rwanda. From that time, I desired to preach the gospel to many people, and when I told this to my wife, she accepted it easily. 

At the end of 2018, we were connected with the Ugandan brethren from Reconciliation Baptist Church Kampala through Brother Marvin, who was an intern at Kabwata Baptist Church at that time. They visited our fellowship three times in 2019 and helped us in many ways. Pastor Bill Issa helped us to baptize the first group of people who believed, and thereafter continued to pray and give us some counseling on how a biblical church should be constituted according to the Bible. In 2021, Kabwata Baptist church became our sending Church officially and I was selected as a missionary to plant Reformation Baptist Church of Kigali, Rwanda. I left my IT job and started to serve the saints full-time.